When it comes to choices, digital consumers have a lot of them. Right now, there are over 2.64 billion online shoppers in the world (Source: Oberlo). That’s one out of every three people. However, only a small fraction will end up purchasing something from your store. In order to optimize your conversion funnel and get more of your website visitors to buy, credibility is key. This requires finding ways to let them know your brand can be trusted.
With more shoppers weighing out their options, many are seeking user-generated content (UGC) to guide them in their decisions. What is UGC, and how does it play into an online store’s conversions? Keep reading to find all the answers, including some of its main benefits and five ways you can utilize this powerful tool to increase your brand’s conversion rate.
Understanding User-Generated Content
User-generated content, or UGC, refers to any form of content created by individuals who are not affiliated with a brand but have experienced its products or services. This content is often shared voluntarily on various online platforms, offering an honest and impartial viewpoint that resonates with many potential buyers.
UGC comes in several formats, including customer reviews and ratings, social media posts, product photos and videos, live streams, blog posts, testimonials, podcasts, and Q&A forums and communities where users share information and participate in discussions.
Benefits of Using UGC
Though it may seem like a stretch to think user-generated content plays any role in an e-tailer’s CRO, the truth is, it really does. Here are seven ways it helps boost conversions by influencing shoppers:
1. It’s authentic.
We mentioned earlier that in order to get shoppers to convert, trust is key. User-generated content delivers this in spades, with 93% of marketers agreeing that user-generated content is trusted more than the content created by brands. How come? Potential customers are more likely to believe the opinions of fellow consumers over perfected messages posted by a brand. If they see real people sharing positive experiences with a product, the more confident they’ll feel–and the more inclined they’ll be to buy.
2. It encourages user engagement.
When users share their experiences and interact with your brand, it creates a dynamic environment that can positively influence others to make purchases. This elevated participation helps cultivate a community by keeping existing customers connected and attracting new ones, which also contributes to a higher conversion rate.
3. It provides peace of mind.
With nearly 80% of consumers saying that user-generated content impacts their buying decisions, it’s safe to say that the opinions and experiences of others play a big role in one’s shopper journey (Source: Nosto). Providing users with reviews, ratings, and other UGC experiences enables them to make informed choices, leading to higher conversion rates.
4. It boosts search engine optimization (SEO) ratings.
Search engines place a premium on fresh and relevant content. UGC often contains keywords and phrases that can enhance the visibility of your brand in search results, indicating that the content is higher quality and more relevant to the reader, which leads to more organic traffic visiting your site.
5. It’s cost-effective.
While creating high-quality marketing materials can be pricey, user-generated content comes directly from your customers. This budget-friendly alternative enables you to reserve your funds for other efforts, such as conversion rate optimization, without emptying the coffers.
6. It expands reach and visibility.
When shoppers create and share content about your products, it can substantially broaden your brand exposure. This will attract new customers and enhance brand awareness, traffic, and, ideally, your conversion rate.
Put all of these advantages together, and the impact of user-generated content on conversion rates is significant. Besides increasing conversions by up to 10% (Source: Salesforce), UGC allows users to get a clear picture of how your products will work for real world applications. In return, they’ll be more likely to trust your brand and make a purchase.
How to Utilize User-Generated Content for Higher Conversions
To reduce costs and boost conversions to the maximum, consider implementing these UGC strategies:
Display UGC on your product pages.
Ever scanned a website for reviews, only to find an empty space where they should exist? Chances are, you likely bounced in favor of a site that did have some in order to gain better insights into that product. Product reviews have become a lot more prominent, with an increasing number of shoppers providing feedback about their online shopping experience. According to TINT, 92% of consumers feel hesitant to buy when no customer reviews are available.
Clearly, this confirms that products with UGC displayed prominently lead to more sales, so kick your conversions into higher gear by showcasing customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials directly on your product pages.
Reviews and testimonials can be detailed or concise, and will offer shoppers important information about a product’s quality, usability, and whether it was able to meet the expectations of other buyers. Ratings, on the other hand, are a great way to offer a quick snapshot of a customer’s level of satisfaction.
Tip: Try and showcase as many reviews as possible with user-submitted photos alongside them to give potential customers a clearer image of your product in the real world.
Leverage user-generated videos and tutorials.
Videos are more successful in producing emotional intensity—84% for UGC compared to 77% for branded content—so encourage customers to share their experiences through video reviews or tutorials.
Users can share videos of themselves wearing your product, demonstrating how a product is used, or featuring the excitement of product unboxing. These videos can then be spotlighted on your website and social media channels. You can also host live streams where users can connect with your brand ambassadors, ask questions, and learn about your products.
Utilize social media.
Social media has become a major player in the retail game, and more customers are taking to their pages to share their experiences through images and videos. 56% of consumers are influenced by social media images and videos when online shopping (Source: Netimperative). Use this to your advantage by leveraging UGC from social media platforms. Encourage customers to use specific hashtags and make sure to interact whenever someone tags your brand in their posts. Feature this UGC on your website and share it on your social media pages to not only highlight your products, but continue to build a community around your brand.
Inject UGC in your email marketing.
A little user-generated content in your email campaigns can go a long way in driving conversions. In fact, UGC in email marketing drives a 78% more click-through rate. Your best approach? Feature bits of customer reviews and showcase user-submitted images to strengthen your credibility. For a personal touch, tailor the content based on the customer's browsing and purchase history.
Tip: Post-purchase email campaigns are a great way to encourage customers to leave reviews, photos, and videos about their newly purchased products. You can encourage participation by offering incentives, such as discounts or even a chance to be featured on your website and social channels.
Turn your user-generated content into ad creative.
A study by Shopify found that UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates than traditional advertising. Once you’ve acquired enough compelling (and positive) reviews, photos, videos, and testimonials, transform this content into engaging ads that can be featured on your social media platforms.
Whether it's through visually appealing Instagram posts or captivating video ads on TikTok, incorporating your real customer content into your advertising will help others resonate with your brand on a more personal level.
Closing the Deal (and the Blog) with UGC
When done right, user-generated content can sway potential customers and get them to turn likes into buys. From customer reviews and ratings to videos and social media posts, UGC offers a wealth of opportunities for brands to connect with their audience, foster trust, and in turn, convert more shoppers into loyal customers.
The secret is to leverage your user-generated content strategically–the right content in the right places–to ensure authenticity while curating vibrant digital content that resonates with a broader audience. Achieve this, and you’ll have a more engaging online community that also happens to help you attain your conversion goals.
One click, plenty of conversions.
Granify's AI technology drives increased conversions by deeply understanding and predicting online shopper behavior. By analyzing vast amounts of data in real time, we’re able to identify the precise moment to intervene to ensure a user will convert–resulting in a personalized shopping experience that delights, delivers, and ultimately, boosts conversion rates.
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